Tag: NHL Standings

NHL Rankings; Lightning top the league, Columbus climbing, Nashville downfall

The 1st ranking period of the year! This is pretty simple, the best teams up to this point. But remember when doing these rankings, last weeks games and the last ten are factored into where each team stands. The record next to the teams names are their record in their last ten games. Next ranking period will be done January 20th. 

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-0-1) 

  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-2)

  3. Winnipeg Jets (8-2-0)

  4. Calgary Flames (6-3-1) 

  5. Washington Capitals (7-3-0) 

  6. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-3-1) 

  7. Nashville Predators (4-5-1) 

  8. San Jose Sharks (6-2-2) 

  9. Buffalo Sabres (4-4-2) 

  10. Boston Bruins (6-4-0) 

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Was last year a fluke for the New Jersey Devils? Or will they turn it around?

It has certainly be a rough start for the Devils. They are 9-10-3 with 21 points, they sit 8th in the Metropolitan division, 14th in the Eastern Conference and 26th in the NHL. They rank 23rd in goals for (65),  11th in goals against (72), 13th in power play percentage (20.8), 18th in shots against per game (30.8) and it seems like things are not getting any better for the Devils. 

In the last ten games the Devils are 4-3-2, scoring 29 goals and allowing 32 goals. Of those 29 goals the Devils have scored they have had 12 different goal scorers. Taylor Hall scored 6 of the 29 goals, Brian Boyle had four, Kyle Palmieri had three, Pavel Zacha had four, Travis Zajac had four. The point behind this is the big reason the Devils are struggling is because of depth scoring and defensive scoring. Of the 29 goals there was only two goals by defenseman. Will Butcher and Damon Severson, as well Nico Hischier only had one goal, Marcus Johansson had only one goal. The heroic story of Jesper Bratt has seemed to slow down, Hischier has only 4 goals in 18 games this year, Johansson has just 3 goals in 21 games, Miles Wood has been near irrelevant with just 5 points in 21 games. The Devils are lacking depth scoring and back end scoring. 

Devils lacking defensive contribution 

Of the Devils 65 goals this season the defense has contributed 5 goals to that 65 total. The Devils have two defenseman leading the way essentially are Butcher with 8 points in 22 games and Severson with 14 points in 22 games. Yet, Butcher’s 8 points is a major drop off to what he was last year at this point, being almost a point per game player and an impactful force. Unless Butcher is on the power play he is not going to produce it seems, as he has just 2 points this season five on five. Sami Vatanen has only 9 points in 19 games, they did bring this guy in to be more of an offensive defenseman who can be a solid power play two option as well as help lead the play out of the defensive end. Vatanen has not lived up to much in New Jersey. After the three mentioned above, Andy Greene has only 5 points in 22 games, sure he is not a production type player but with Butcher struggling, Vatanen slow to start and Ben Lovejoy and Egor Yakovlev only producing a combined 4 points. The Devils defense contribution struggles and it is hurting the team early on here. 

Scoring depth absence for New Jersey 

You may be saying but Blake Coleman is chipping in, Brian Boyle too, Pavel Zacha came back hot they are going to be fine. How realistic is it to imagine Brian Boyle scoring 25 plus this season? Slim. Zacha can be at least a 20-goal player but consistency has killed the young forward and Blake Coleman will probably be the only one to actually consistently produce month by month. Anyways when looking at the Devil’s top six scorers, Taylor Hall (23), Kyle Palmieri (21), Travis Zajac (14), Demon Severson (14) Blake Coleman (13), Nico Hischier (13) after those six there is a major drop off, to players with 8 points, 6 points and 5 points, they lack depth scoring and there has been very little offensive production besides Hall and Pals this season. The Devils other 10 forwards have a combined 23 goals. Without Brian Boyle’s 7 goals that would make it 16 goals between nine forwards. This is a clear suggestion that the Devils need to either shake lines up or talk to their struggling forwards like Bratt, Woods, Johansson and Hischier to get on the board more and consistently. The Devils do not get some depth scoring in the coming months they will be finding themselves looking out sooner than later and it could be a long off season for New Jersey fans.  

Take note NHL! Buffalo and Colorado climb to the top from the bottom in 19 month

The Buffalo Sabres are at the top of the league. And it is not a joke. Colorado Avalanche went from the worst team in hockey to one of the best in just few months. We take a look at the standings and looking back just to the April of 2017… It is quite unbelievable.

When the regular season 2016/17 ended in the April of 2017, the Avalanche were dead-last in the standings, posting only 48 points, being -112 in the process. The Sabres were not much better, they finished fifth from the bottom with 78 points. In just 19 months circumstances have changed drastically. Buffalo is leading NHL and Colorado has 30 points to sit sixth overall in the standings.

Buffalo has missed every play-off opportunity since 2010, the Avs had miserable year in 2016/17 being 21 points short of 29th place overall. Now Colorado is a play-off team from last season and it seems like they are not stopping anytime soon. The Sabres have won 9 straight games in attempt to battle their franchise records. A team not being a play-off team for eight years is leading the league and it is beyond Thanksgiving.

From bottom-pit to the very top in a flash

It is always so nice to see new teams with fresh young players dominating the game. But these stories are nearly jaw-dropping. You may be very honest with yourself and admit, that whenever your team plays the Sabres or the Avs, you say ´Oh, come on! We have to win, it´s just Buffalo!´.

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But it has been quite opposite so far this season. Sabres are firing on all cylinders, leading the standings, winning NINE games in a row, scoring ton of goals… They are used to play exciting style of games, they scored 76 goals and gave up 66, it is not like Buffalo dominates hockey, but they never give up and always seem to find a way. Like yesterday in Detroit, Sabres won that one in 7th round in the shootout.

Colorado is being led by its´ terrific top line. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen have combined for 99 points during current campaign. Rantanen is leading the league race in points with 38 points, just three points ahead of… Nathan MacKinnon. Gabriel Landeskog leads the league field in plus-minus with +16, his linemate Rantanen is +14.

mikko-rantanen-nathan-mackinnon-gabriel-landeskog

Everything has been like in one sweet dream for Colorado and Buffalo so far this season. Will it continue? Will they always find a way? How will they respond to tough challenges like injuries or bad luck? One thing is for sure – they are young and here to be self-confident and courageous enough to overcome any kind of trouble.

NHL News; Will the Devils, Blues, Vegas and Florida stay at the bottom of the pack all year?

I figured this would be a great time to freak some Devils, Blues, Vegas and Florida fans out, upset, anger and annoy them with a great article! Seriously though, what is going on with the Golden Knights, Panthers and Blues? The Devils I am giving a half pass because they have played 2-3 less games then some teams but either way they just lost to Ottawa 7-3, not a good look.

(26) New Jersey Devils: 6-6-1; 13 points

New Jersey Devils 2018-19 season startVery early in the year and the Devils just played a back to back but it is not a start many Devil fans would like to see especially since they came storming out the gate 4-0-1 and have since as you can tell cooled off. The Devils had a miraculous year last season, a surprise season for many fans. But, now since they have been successful they are expected to do the same thing again. Should we expect that from them though? Apart from their top line of Palmieri-Hischier-Hall they do not have a lot of scoring depth those three produce around 85% of the teams points and lead team in scoring. After those three’s 16, 15 and 12 point totals the next in line is Travis Zajac with 10 points who honestly we can be realistic here will be good for 40 points at most. After that is Demon Severson and Will Butcher with 8 points, Brian Boyle with 7 points(3 coming the other night), Sami Vatanen with 7 points and Blake Coleman with 5 points. Therefore out of these top guys, four forwards clearly do the heavy lifting, three defenseman chip in every once in a while and then after that there is a dramatic fall off. Not to mention Will Butcher has 7 power play points of his 8 points, therefore 5 on 5 Butcher is nearly irrelevant besides playing defensively. So, unless the Devils bank on 2-3 power plays a game Butcher is not good for much production. Hall will have to produce 90+ again, Palmieri will need to continue on this trend while his career high is 57 points, Hischier will need to also break his last season total and be in the 60 point range. Keith Kinkaid will need to continue his unbelievable play, there is a lot of moving parts here for this Devils team but there is also a lot of what ifs. They play in a relatively weaker Metropolitan division therefore it should not be too hard for the team, but I could see the Devils missing the playoffs this season.

(27) St. Louis Blues: 5-5-3; 13 points

The Blues certainly had different expectations for this season, after acquiring Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, Patrick Maroon and David Perron and now Robby Fabbri back healthy the Blues should definitely be higher in the standings. Yet, they find themselves looking up from the bottom. The biggest crutch to this team has been their goaltending. Jake Allen has a 3.99 goals against, .879 save percentage. Plus their back up, not taking credit away from the guy but it’s Chad Johnson can he be the same player as Carter Hutton? I don’t think so. On the year he has two starts a 2.47 GAA and .919 save percentage. Yes, it is early but the worse you start out the harder it is to climb yourself out come the All-Star break. The Blues have seen a different type of Ryan O’Reilly to start the year leading the team with 19 points and 12 assists but also they do get secondary scoring (how could they not?), Tarasenko has 13 points, Schenn has 9 points, Perron has 12 points, two players have 8 points and 3 players have seven points. They get depth scoring but if they do not find something to do with Jake Allen and get some help in the goaltending department it will be a disappointing year for the Blues. I think with how competitive the Central is it will be near impossible for the Blues to crack a top three spot, wild card is their only option come playoff time.

(28) Vegas Golden Knights 6-8-1; 13 points

Vegas Golden Knights 2018-19 seaosn start Not how the Golden Knights expected this season to start, maybe they are coming down to earth and playing at the level many thought they were going to be at. I mean they have Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty, Paul Statsny, William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, Alex Tuch and Erik Haula. But injuries have been the major problem for this team. They have dealt with Pacioretty, Statsny and Tuch on the IR and now Haula got hurt Tuesday vs Toronto and the Golden Knights continue dig a deep hole. Like I said before once you dig the hole deeper and deeper it is hard to get out come All-Star break time. The Golden Knights will need to a surge of production once they have everyone healthy and not playing five-road games. Marchessault and Karlsson are the only ones with 10+ points on the team which concerning. Like I said the hole is getting deeper and deeper, and in a Pacific division right now with a hot Edmonton team and Calgary team it will be catch up time for Vegas if they do not come out of this road trip either splitting it or taking 3 of 4 games. They already dropped one… I think the Golden Knights will be playing catch up all season and will miss the playoffs.

(31) Florida Panthers: 3-5-3; 9 points

What the heck happened with Florida? Although they did something like this last year, 31st? That is bad and not easy to bounce out of. When you are in a funk it is tough to get out of that funk, it feels endlessly and that’s how the Panthers feel right now. They have played just 9 games cause of the Global Series games but they head home for three games then hit the road for 2-weeks (6 games). This is going to be a good test for Florida. They may do the same thing they did last year, chase all year and be a borderline playoff team come April. They should be much better considering who is in their division but with a hot Montreal and Buffalo team the Panthers have some work to do and do it quick. They need to walk away with 2 of 3 wins on this homestand to get some confidence back, they have the scoring and forwards upfront to be a top contender but it is tough after playing two Global Series games in different countries and all that traveling. I predict the Panthers wake up in mid-November and chase all year.

NHL News; Can the Canucks, Oilers and Islanders continue their success?

Not many expected the standings to look the way they do right now. Besides the Predators, Lightning and Maple Leafs being a top the standings, the rest of the top-10 has some unexpected teams in it.

(6) Vancouver Canucks: 9-6-0; 18 points

  • What has been the Canucks reason for success? Well we know the answer is obvious they are getting supplemental scoring along with decent goaltending. The two biggest reasons the Canucks have struggled for so long is due to not enough depth scoring and inconsistent goaltending. Now, through 15 games the Canucks are ranked 9th in goals for (46) and 6th in goals against (50) but they also rank 19th in goals for per game (3.07), 16th in power play percentage (20.4) and 29th in shots on goal per game (26.9). The Canucks shoot the puck on net the least among all teams besides three, they have a decent power play percentage, rank in the middle to low end of the pack in terms of goals for per game. Along with the fact they are a team that allows a ton of goals against, essentially the only way the Canucks continue this performance is if Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Jake Virtanen can continue on this reign of doing all the heavy lifting for Vancouver. Along with the fact Jacob Markstrom and Andres Nilsson can continue to be a solid two-goalie tandem. Right now the Canucks are performing at an extremely unbelievable rate that is destined to fall apart soon. They have 5 players who do all the offensive work for them, with Boeser, Horvat 11 points and Pettersson’s 15 points the next guy up is Markus Granlund with 6 points. It will be tough for Vancouver to continue down this path, I personally do not see this being sustained all year.

(7) Edmonton Oilers: 8-4-1; 17 points

  • After a disappointing 2017-18 season the Oilers made it clear in the offseason they

    Edmonton Oilers 2018-19
    Ryan Nugent Hopkins able to continue his hot start? RNH has 14 points in 13 games thus far…

    were not going to let that happen again. Although they did not acquire many players to their team, they have come out the gate flying looking like a team on a mission. Of course their success comes from the one and only Connor McDavid. McDavid has 21 points in 13 games, 9 goals and 12 assists, after McDavid comes Leon Draisaitl’s 14 points in 13 games and Ryan Nugent Hopkins(RNH) 14 points in 13 games. Aside from McDavid, Draisaitl and RNH the Oilers next line of production is Tobias Rieder with 7 points(7 assists), Alex Chiasson and Oscar Klefbom who also have 6 points(6 assists) and Drake Caggiula who has 5 points(5 goals). The Oilers have very little secondary scoring after McDavid and Draisaitl which is a big concern and was a big issue for them last season. On top of that the Oilers rank 20th in goals for(40) but also 8th in goals against(34), they average just above 3 goals a game while allowing just under 3 goals against. The Oilers are like many teams seeing great production from three players right now, it is early and will these guys continue? We can all guarantee McDavid will, Draisaitl is good for 80 points, can Ryan Nugent Hopkins come out of his shell and break out? Potentially he can but it is not a guarantee obviously. Other than that Cam Talbot will need to pick up his play a tad and find a way to bring back his 2016-17 self to help the Oilers continue on this trend. Personally I see this as a possibility, I see the Oilers falling off around the All-Star break though, bubble playoff team.

(8) New York Islanders: 8-4-1; 17 points

  • As we all know the big question for the Islanders coming into the year was what are they going to be able to do without John Tavares? Well it seems they have answered that question pretty nicely through the first 13 games. The Islanders have seen distribution of production across the board leading the team is Josh Bailey with 15 points, then captain Anders Lee with 13 points, sophomore Matt Barzal with 12 points, Brock Nelson with 9 points, three guys with 7 points and two guys with 6 points. They rank 16th in the goals for category among the league with 41 goals and have the second lowest goal against among all NHL teams. They average around 3.15 goals for and 2.31 goals against, their power play is ranked 13th (22.5). On top of it all their goaltending has been much better, Thomas Greiss has a 1.85 goals against in 6 games started and a .944 save percentage along with Robin Lehner’s 2.45 goals against in 7 games started and .928 save percentage. The Islanders are certainly the opposite of what they were last year, they are actually playing defense, getting support from their goalies and not blowing leads. Many may overlook the Islanders with no John Tavares but it seems as if the players they have now are out to prove something. Plus with a tough Metropolitan division the Islanders can go one of two ways this season middle of the pack or a playoff team. The Islanders are a team that will compete with their divisional opponents and raise their level of play when it comes to other Metropolitan/Atlantic division teams. It is now staying consistent for the Islanders all year round, not just three months. I see the Islanders sustaining this and being a big surprise to many.

NHL Power Rankings; Dec. 11- Dec. 24, Lightning, Vegas, Devils lead the way

          November 27-December 11 NHL Power Rankings(OLD)    

  1.                                       St. Louis Blues (6-3-1) (+1)                                                   
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning (6-4-0) (-1) 
  3. Nashville Predators (7-1-2) (+1) 
  4. Winnipeg Jets (5-3-2) (-1) 
  5. Columbus Blue Jackets (7-3-0) (new) 
  6. Los Angeles Kings (8-1-1) (new)
  7. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-3-1) (+2) 
  8. Vegas Golden Knights (7-3-0) (even)
  9.  Washinton Capitals (8-2-0) (+1)
  10. New York Islanders (5-4-1) (-3)

December 11-December 24 NHL Power Rankings (NEW)

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-1-0) (+1) 
  2. Vegas Golden Knights (8-1-1) (+6) 
  3. Nashville Predators (6-2-2) (Even) 
  4. Washington Capitals (7-2-1) (+6) 
  5. New Jersey Devils (6-3-1) (New) 
  6. Los Angeles Kings (6-3-1) (Even)
  7. St. Louis Blues (5-5-0) (-5) 
  8. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-4-1) (-2) 
  9. Toronto Maple Leafs (5-5-0) (-2) 
  10. Boston Bruins (7-2-1) (New) 

The first one as you can tell is the third edition of NHL power rankings and the one right above the text is the newest most updated version. Now, as you can tell, Winnipeg is not on this list, with good reasoning. This list is based on the team’s performance since December 11th, and from December 11th on, Winnipeg has not looked like they deserve a top 10 spot in the power rankings this time around. As for their last ten, they are 3-5-2. A small bump in the road, but we must acknowledge that they have struggled.

While the top five teams on this list have been consistently winning, and have proven to be a top-five team on this list. The Lightning are going to be within the top five, possibly top three all season so get used to that. Vegas continues to impress, and with their recent win over Washington and last ten games, I had to give them some credit. We will honestly see Vegas within the top ten all season. The Predators are a very solid team right now, that loss to Carolina the other night was a rough one and a fluke, and a loss to Dallas Saturday night in a shootout is a tough one other than that, there’s no reason this team should not be in the top three. Getting Ryan Ellis back in a week or two is astronomical for this already proven d-core.

Washington and New Jersey continue to swap that number one spot in the Metropolitan division, but let’s remember that division is extremely close and no spot is a given right now. These two teams have prevailed against some solid teams and consistently continue to win. The Kings played solid hockey over the past week or so, and nothing gives them a boost or lowers them, they continue to be a top team in the West, and with Jonathan Quick at his best, we will see this team in the top ten all year.

Blues have fallen tremendously, since the injury to Jaden Schwartz they have struggled a great deal. Nothing to be worried about but, with a .500 record over the last ten, they have to get demoted. Columbus and Toronto have not played exceptional hockey, but they win games they need to, not many teams can really be on this list over them. I think one of these teams eventually fall out the top ten.

Finally, Boston has looked unbelievable. A healthy line up from the back end down has really worked wonders for them. Plus when Tuukka Rask plays this way, it gives the rest of the team a major confidence booster, the Bruins have seen depth scoring, production from rookies/young guys, veterans producing, everything needed to make them a top ten team on this list. I think we possibly see Boston jump Toronto for that two spot in the Atlantic soon.